I don't need to test my programs. I have an error-correcting modem.


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Associative arrays use angle brackets as a "natural" notation. The operators are defined in the demonstration commandlet; they should be defined in a root-ward class so they can be used widely. This is just a proof of concept.


The commandlet contains the definitions and some demonstration code.

class AADemoCommandlet
    extends Commandlet;
/* The left-angle bracket operator. Returns an AAProxy, a proxy that can
   be converted either to a string or to a "reference" to a string. The
   operator parameters are an associative array  and the string index
   into the array. */
final operator(24) AAProxy < (out AssociativeArray A, coerce string index) 
  local AAProxy aa;
  aa = new(None) class'AAProxy';
  aa.init(A, index);
  return aa; 
} // operator <
/* The right-angle bracket operator; a postoperator as it finishes an
   expression with an AAProxy (an associative array generated the proxy).
   This converts a proxy to an r-value (a string) */
final postoperator string > (AAProxy proxy) 
  return proxy.r_value();
} // operator >
/* The combined right-angle bracket and assignment operator. It takes the
   rhs of the operator (a string) and assigns the value to the appropriate
   slot in the array. This operator converts the AAProxy into an
   l-value. */
final operator(24) string >= (AAProxy A, coerce string value) 
  return A.l_value(value);
} // operator >=
/* The left-angle bracket for use with AssociativeArrayIterator. Note that
   it returns an AAProxy permitting the > and >= operators defined above to
   be used on the right end of an iterator expression. */
final preoperator AAProxy < (AssociativeArrayIterator ai)
  local AAProxy aa;
  aa = new(None) class'AAProxy';
  aa.init(ai.getCollection(), ai.getIndex());
  return aa;
} // operator <
/* preoperator increment for iterators. No postoperator is defined because
   it requires creation of a temporary iterator and I didn't feel like
   worrying about where the spare copy went. */
final preoperator AssociativeArrayIterator ++(out AssociativeArrayIterator ai) 
  return ai;
} // operator ++
/* iterator's not equality comparison. Equality would be easy to write and
   this could have been defined in terms of equality but the extra function
   call seemed a waste (given script speed). */
final operator(26) bool != (AssociativeArrayIterator lhs,
                            AssociativeArrayIterator rhs) 
  return !lhs.same(rhs);
/* Main function of the commandlet. Ignores its input arguments and
   demonstrates the use of the associative array operators and
   iterators. */
function int main(string args) 
  local AssociativeArray A;
  local AssociativeArrayIterator i;
      // construct a new, initially empty associative array
  A = new(None) class'AssociativeArray';
      // populate the array with some values; note that the ">=" is one symbol
  A<"fish">=   "shark";
  A<"dog">=    ("new"$"found"$"land"); // parentheses are required
  A<"cat">=    "persian";
  A<"cow">=    "zebu";
  A<"bird">=   "penguin";
  A<"rodent">= "gerbil";
      // i iterates across the elements within the associative array 
      // first and second return the key and value portions of an associative
      // array entry
  for(i = A.begin(); i != A.end(); ++i) {
    log("A<" $ i.first() $ "> = " $ i.second());    
      // modify the contents of the associative array; put each entry inside
      // curly braces
  for(i = A.begin(); i != A.end(); ++i) {
    <i>= ("{" $ i.second() $ "}");
  for(i = A.begin(); i != A.end(); ++i) {
    log("<i> = "$<i>); // this will just print out the values in the array
      // if an element doesn't exist, returns "" without inserting an item
  log("No such item: A<\"gamma\"> = "$A<"gamma">);
  return 0;
} // main


The demonstration uses an AAProxy type. This type tracks a location in an associative array and permits that entry to be returned or set. It is simply a reference some associative array and a string index. This is enough informatino to either insert or retrieve a value in the associative array.

class AAProxy extends Object;
/* AAProxy - Associative Array proxy class. The proxy is returned by the <
 indexing operator and can be converted to either a l-value or an r-value
 (okay, almost an r-value; the proxy can set the underlying element in
 the Associative Array). */
/* An AAProxy serves as in the stead of an associative array element.  To
 be able to simulate an r-value, the array and the index must both be
 kept in the proxy. Both are private to limit access to the three
 interface functions. */
var private AssociativeArray A;
var private string ndx;
/* init - initializes the proxy object with an associative array and
   an index. */
function init(AssociativeArray AA, string index) 
  A = AA;
  ndx = index;
} // init
/* Read the value from the given location in the associative
   array. Effectively convert the proxy to an r-value representing the
   given element in the associative array.*/
function string r_value() 
  return A.lookup(ndx);
} // r_value
/* Set the value represented by the proxy to the value provided as a
   parameter to this function. Effectively convert the proxy to an l-value
   representing the given element in the associative array. */
function string l_value(string v) 
  A.insert(ndx, v);
  return v;
} // l_value

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